Now that the MLB playoffs are in full swing I find it necessary to talk about one thing all sports fans love more than anything else, history. No I don’t mean history like George Washington crossing the Delaware river, the Emancipation Proclamation, or the Magna Carta. No that history isn’t exactly important, right now a least. Instead, let’s look at how the Chicago Cubs have not only a good chance, but the best chance they’ve had in 108 years of actually winning the World Series! The last time the Cubs won a World Series title was back in the year 1908 when they actually won back to back titles in 1907 and 1908! In their storied existence as a franchise, the Chicago Cubs have had a total of ten World Series appearances, most recently in 1945! Since then the Chicago Cubs have endured what has been not only the longest championship appearance drought in the MLB, but also the longest championship drought in North American sports! However, this could be the year the the Cubs put an end to their World Series woes and make professional sports history! But could our nation’s media be putting too much pressure on them?
After being swept by the New York Mets in the 2015 NLCS (National League Championship Series) the Cubs came back this season on a mission! They ended the 2016 regular season with a record of 103-58, the best record of any team in the league this year in fact! It looked as if the Cubs were an absolute shoe in for the National League title and likely the world Series. However, ever since the start of the playoffs our nation’s sports media has done nothing but obsess over this Cubs team and the likelihood of them ending their lengthy “curse”. Since the start of this postseason hype the Cubs have experienced various bumps in the road. We have seen a drastic drop in production from star offensive and defensive players including Anthony Rizzo, Addison Russell, and Jason Hayward. Rizzo, who posted a solid batting average of .292 in the regular season while also belting 32 home runs, is now batting an abysmal .077 with zero home runs in this postseason. Addison Russell put up a batting average of .238 and collected a total of 21 home runs over the course of the regular season but has found himself in quite the postseason slump as well batting a horrific .042 also with zero home runs. The Cubs pitching has also shown substantial postseason weaknesses. In last night’s NLCS game against the Los Angeles Dodgers the Cubs let up a total of 6 runs, despite starting their ace, Jake Arrieta. All the while failing to get any offensive production, being shut out with a final score of 6-0.
The postseason performance we’ve seen from this Chicago Cubs team has deeply contrasted that of their regular season. In my opinion this is just another case of the media over hyping the possibility of something historically significant therefore putting loads of pressure on that team. We’ve seen it covered on articles all over the internet from ESPN, The Ringer, and even Urban Matter! All of these forums have been extensively covering how this could be and should be the Cubs year! But with a young roster like this who seem to crumble under pressure, is it really? The media has found a way, as I feel it always does, to cause a dominant team like the Cubs to crumble! I feel as though any time your putting the weight of a 108 year World Series drought onto the shoulders of guys as young as 22, you’re going to see some slippage come crunch time. All baseball fans know that the regular season is one thing, but the postseason, now that’s a whole different ball game. I think its time for the media to stop obsessing over the history and focus on this Cubs team and their success. Stop comparing this Cubs team to that Cubs team. Once we stop and let these guys actually play their game, like we all did in the regular season, that’s when we’ll see them start performing like we all know they can, like champions.